The Impossibility Of Knowing > Comments on **An Author Is Coming To My Book Club But I've Got A Problem**

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I'm sorry I missed this.. I wouldn't have known how honest to be either - it got published after all... maybe I would have just talked about a piece I particularly liked, or find something kind to say. I guess I'd tell myself it was her editor's job to critique her work prior to publication - seems not to be a lot of point post-publication. Just my thoughts, a bit belatedly.

posted by mneme on June 16, 2009 at 8:29 PM | link to this | reply

Wow. .... I feel stressed and I don't have to do anything. Breathe. Personally I want honesty and a  safe place to recover afterwards. :)

posted by texture on June 12, 2009 at 1:03 PM | link to this | reply

I'm a nurse, I can write you a note...


posted by majroj on June 12, 2009 at 6:16 AM | link to this | reply

Azur- as  this is a book already written, not a working manuscript, I'd emphasize the positives.  Most first novels are not that great, anyway, and since this author has apparently moved on, it makes no sense to tear this book apart.  Is there a story-line you can relate to?  A relationship between characters that you can build upon?  Mal

posted by gapcohen on June 12, 2009 at 5:31 AM | link to this | reply

People often don't understand the difference between criticism and critique.To provide a critique is to 'lift out', inspect and discuss constructively, even allowing you to go farther afield. And you don't have to provide a critique for the entire book. One or two things (scenes, characters or such) that struck you in some way, either positively or negatively, will do, and might be of real benefit to the author...

posted by Nautikos on June 11, 2009 at 7:10 PM | link to this | reply

Honesty is the best policy! I would welcome the trouble you are having with it! How else could one improve. However, a public forum is not the place to address it! I think you can go with the areas you note are the strongest and keep it brief. Thanks you for the note on the poem, much appreciated! Also, I realized I had not turn our sign on for the day, but they always have more life at night! Plugged in so to speak! I love cryptic messages! sam But I know you know that, too! Have a great evening!

posted by sam444 on June 11, 2009 at 7:08 PM | link to this | reply

OK Jack Flash, will do.
I am not sure what i'd do without this advice.

Us survivors must, um survive


posted by Azur on June 11, 2009 at 4:51 PM | link to this | reply

O.K., here's what to do.  Say what you think.  If some kind ot hassly debate begins,
pretend that your cell phone is set on vibrate and you just got an emergency call.
You have to go somewhere in a hurry, so you duck out.

posted by Jack_Flash on June 11, 2009 at 3:42 PM | link to this | reply

My advice is that you not listen to advice.

posted by Jack_Flash on June 11, 2009 at 3:28 PM | link to this | reply

I'm a great believer in straight talking, the truth is all you should tell her. How she deals with it is her problem not yours. Give her your honest critique, hold nothing back and that will be the person I know through Blogit.Shy but straighet as a die.

posted by WileyJohn on June 11, 2009 at 2:35 PM | link to this | reply

I've been trying to read a book that I'm not crazy about.  The characters don't interest me and I don't know why I've tried three different times, except that a sister recommended it and wants to know what I think.  I think I'm not going to try any longer.  LOL.  At least she didn't write it and I don't have to critique her writing, only her taste in books.

posted by TAPS. on June 11, 2009 at 12:19 PM | link to this | reply


The author probably wants honest opinions, but will argue with any you offer.
Say what you think and wait for a response.  If hostility rises and argument begins, start agreeing with what author says.
Then consider it a lesson to you and pass the issue on to another person.
Let them take on the argumentation.


posted by Jack_Flash on June 11, 2009 at 9:04 AM | link to this | reply

I would love to give you some tips, but the problem is that I'm an author myself and I'm just publishing my debut novel and am looking for honest opinions too - and to be honest with you, I'm looking for 100% hard core honest opinions rather than diplomatic ones

posted by Aspire2Inspire on June 11, 2009 at 5:40 AM | link to this | reply

No, the truth always hurts or someone's perception of the truth

A dear friend in Sydney two weeks ago toldme she prefers my poetry to my prose. I am still soul searching for what I feel is the truth.

ps. I really enjoyed our chat and would love totalk morein the future when I am back in Canada.

posted by Kabu on June 11, 2009 at 5:31 AM | link to this | reply

Thing is, even though published, revision is possible.

I'd guess she knows about the issues you're finding. You'll find a TLC way to give honest feedback that she can use next time.

After mine came out on Amazon someone pointed out the ending was a bit of an anti-climax, and they were right. I knew it, but couldn't put my finger on the problem until they talked. Did some revisions, moved chapters around, rounded up the ending (OCD all the way, but...) and am giving it a nice long rest before I go about trying to sell it to a "real" publisher.

posted by Pat_B on June 11, 2009 at 4:31 AM | link to this | reply

I think it's okay not to be able to connect with the characters or even the
storyline. I felt that way with the Da Vinci Code. I couldn't even get passed the first chapter, while everyone around me told me how great it was. 

posted by Ariala on June 11, 2009 at 3:37 AM | link to this | reply

Even though the book is already published the author presumably would like to know what kind of pitfalls she should avoid the next time round. Well-founded criticism is usually OK, isn't it? Unless of course the person in question is ultra-sensitive. Good luck! I've taken some of your advice and have rewritten the chapter; thanks once again.

posted by elinjo on June 11, 2009 at 2:38 AM | link to this | reply

Talion, thank you. That is an excellent suggestion
Yes, obviously she can't change the book, but like any author she will have realised what she does and doesn't like about that book, and I think that will be a very interesting question for me to ask her. The others in the group will be better about asking the nitty gritty things about the book.

posted by Azur on June 10, 2009 at 10:28 PM | link to this | reply


I learned a little trick in college when faced with a group discussion on material I didn't know like the back of my hand. I spoke early and often on the few points I knew well. By the time the discussion progressed to those I was least familiar with, everyone in the group had heard enough of me and wanted others to get a chance to speak.

In your case, start off the discussion with the book's strengths, providing concrete examples. Let someone else mention the weaknesses and such. Don't lie, but unless specifically asked, keep the character opinions to yourself. After all, the book is already published. It's not like she can go back and change anything. 

posted by Talion_ on June 10, 2009 at 10:10 PM | link to this | reply

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